What Sheffield United must do to be considered one of best promoted teams ever, according to former Liverpool and Forest star
Chris Wilder guiding Sheffield United to a top six finish in the Premier League would be up there among the great footballing stories, according to former Nottingham Forest and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore.
Collymore, the footballer-turned-pundit, tipped the newly-promoted Blades to finish bottom in their first campaign back in the top flight since 2007 at the beginning of the season.
But writing for his Mirror column ahead of United’s TV clash with AFC Bournemourth at Bramall Lane, the ex-England international admits he got it ‘100 per cent wrong’ back in the summer.
“It won't come as any surprise that I’ve copped some stick from Sheffield United fans these past few months after predicting they would finish bottom of the table,” he writes.
“I still don’t think that was too crazy a call, given most of their players had never played in the Premier League.
“Most were bought for modest sums, and none were huge signings that you knew could automatically handle the top flight.
“But still, I never mind holding my hand up and saying, ‘yeah, I was 100 per cent wrong’, and I’m more than happy to on this occasion.”
A win for Wilder’s side on Sunday would move them to within two points of fourth placed Chelsea in the final Champions League spot, having played a game more, going into their winter break.
And Collymore, who helped Forest finish third in the Premier League in 1995 following promotion, says United’s achievements this season have once again re-opened the debate about the best promoted team ever – and writes a top six finish ‘will be up there among the great stories’.
“They’ve recorded some good results against the bigger teams and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and a good positional finish,” he says.
“Wilder can ask his men every week, ‘does anyone scare you?’ And the answer will always be, ‘no’.
“I still expect the big guns to flex their muscles and seal off the top four, so the challenge is for United to pin down a Europa League spot.”